My son’s school psychologist came to observe in the classroom and witnessed clowning behaviors. The psychologist’s assessment included the judgment that my son was an attention seeker. Really? Exactly the opposite was the truth. Comic behaviors in the midst of tics are to conceal the tics, because the more controlled gross and fine motor movements become for an aging child, the more obvious unwanted movements become. And what’s worse, sometimes the tics themselves can be humiliating. For a painfully prolonged several weeks, my son had a complex motor tic slamming his fist into his groin in a knock out punch. He neither enjoyed this or thought it was funny. He was mortified, humiliated and in pain. He could blush, go hide in a hole, or make light of it, all the while dying a thousand deaths as a school psychologist further assassinates intentions labeling my son as attention seeking.
These mischaracterizations tempt us as parents to go Mama Bear on our children’s overseers. A level head with aim for advocacy is wiser. I pretend that we are all on the same team, and all believe in my son as much as I do. Visualization is a powerful tool. Loyalties are created through offering grace when communicating how observers are getting it all wrong, terribly wrong, by using face saving heedfulness. There are times this takes as much self discipline as we used when our obstetrician told us “Don’t push!” and we wanted HIM to die a thousand deaths. This is our battle to fight, and when battle lines are drawn, the more warriors you retain on your side of the chalk line, the better.